January 25, 2023 08:12
European Union foreign ministers slapped a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, discussed a possible 10th sanctions package against Russia, and agreed to more than $540 million in new military spending for Ukraine.
The new military funding for Ukraine brings to nearly $12 billion the total European Union and member state military spending for Kyiv since the country's war began nearly a year ago.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also said EU oil sanctions against Moscow are working. "Russia needs 70 percent in order to balance its budget -- so it's losing $40 per barrel," Borrell said. "It is a big hit on Russian financial stability."
But European foreign ministers meeting in Brussels failed to make progress on one key sticking point: getting Germany to formally greenlight EU member states' sending its Leopard tanks to Ukraine, which Kyiv says are vital to its war effort.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has suggested Germany will not oppose countries like Poland sending the tanks -- but there has been no announcement beyond that.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said his country will send Kyiv the tanks anyway. "Certainly, we are going to send these tanks," Rau said. "We will be [in] touch with the German government about it. But regardless of the decision of other countries, we are more than determined, as we have promised the Ukrainian side to send the tanks."
The EU is discussing another round of sanctions against Moscow, but Hungary, whose leader has had close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, signaled its opposition.
The bloc also agreed to a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its widespread crackdown against anti-government protests. EU travel bans and asset freezes target 37 entities and individuals, including members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
But the Europeans stopped short of sanctioning the Revolutionary Guard as a whole -- for now. Britain and the United States have also agreed to new sanctions against Iran.
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